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Attention all Trust volunteers & staff:

Mark Westerfield has arranged for the Party to be held in the Stanhope Working Mens Club at 6.30pm (until 10pm) 
on Wednesday December 15th.  Supper, soft drinks and beer will be provided. 
All regular 2010 volunteers plus partners/spouses are welcome.



  • BARS MANAGER OUTLINES  WEARDALE LINE DEVELOPMENT  PLANS : Mike Fairburn, Group Operations Manager has outlined  the  plans to enable the line to carry  additional traffic :  Developments to increase line capacity between Stanhope and Bishop Auckland have started. The developments include the installation of a siding at Bishop Auckland and the installation of a loop at Scotch Isle. Detailed train planning by Operations Manager Donald Heath has enable us to identify operational bottle necks that must be resolved to enable increase in operational flexibility to be realised. More detail is given in the following items for both developments. The installation of these new track arrangements will greatly increase the scope for the operation of locomotive hauled services between Stanhope and Bishop Auckland.  With No 40 having received major attention to its chassis, with two additional main line locomotives available for traffic and a rake of 5 coaches in maroon and cream livery, Weardale Railway is now better equipped than ever to offer a period train service at weekends in 2011.
Two views at Bishop Auckland showing work underway on ground clearance and drainage in preparation for the new siding. 
On the left looking west towards Latherbrush Bridge and on the right towards the WR platform ( Photos  : Norman Swindle )

·    THE NEW LAYOUT AT SCOTCH ISLE (Wolsingham): The loop at Scotch Isle which has been designed by Trevor Horner is to be installed in two phases.  The first phase includes the extension of the formation and laying of track beyond the end of the existing headshunt and the installation of a new turnout together with alterations to the main line, at the Eastern extremity of the loop.  This will enable heritage trains to be run round by the train engine, eliminating the need for shunt release. The next stage of development which is planned to proceed immediately upon completion of the first phase is the installation of a new turnout to the West of the existing crossover, with a connection into the running line facing Up trains. This development will allow trains to pass at Scotch Isle. The design of signalling is currently still under development by Steve Bissell. Detailed consideration was given to the installation of a loop in the station at Wolsingham, but operational problems with access to what would become the Down platform, together with the extent of engineering work to accommodate the loop involving reconstruction of the old Down platform have helped to highlight the most passenger friendly solution of moving the loop to a location adjacent to the depot. ( Mike Fairburn)

·            THE NEW LAYOUT AT BISHOP AUCKLAND : The siding at Bishop Auckland will enable shunt release of the train engine from locomotives hauled trains and the ability to hold a train out of section close to the station. Ultimately the layout at BA will include two sidings, one either side of Latherbrush Bridge, the westerly of these two sidings being the first planned to be installed. Improvements in drainage works are now underway which will ensure that the formation remains dry in the coming winter.  Work will then move to installation of a turnout, siding track and ground frame to control the turnout. ( Mike Fairburn.)

·         WOLSINGHAM COAL LOADING FACILITY : The County Council Planning Department have replied to the points raised by the solicitors acting for the No2coal group and we understand that their solicitors and the group itself are now considering their position. Meanwhile David Million, the Project Manager is overseeing the demolition of several derelict buildings which have to be cleared to make way for the extended sidings which are required. Some other cabins and portable items are being repositioned at the same time.

The Weardale Charter train crossing Broadwood Bridge on October 16th, hauled by 8F No 48151 –
(Photo : Kenneth Snowden – see other photos on his website :

·         LAST CHARTER OF 2010 - AND IT WAS STEAM HAULED : The Weardale Railways first mainline steam charter arrived at Stanhope on October 16th hauled by 8F No. 48151 – ‘Gauge 0 Guild’. The tour had started at Newcastle and covered a network of lines in Northumberland and County Durham before heading for Weardale . There are some excellent videos of the trip – so if you want a virtual railtour visit : – a six minute film by Graham Meadows, where he filmed the train at Stillington, Shildon, Witton le Wear, Wolsingham, Broadwood and at Stanhope. Our own Ruth Carroll has also put up a video on her Weardale Railway TV Youtube account ; you can see it at : . This was the fifth railtour to visit the Weardale line in 2010.


·         STANHOPE TO BISHOP AUCKLAND IN TWO MINUTES:- As mentioned in another news item, Ruth Carroll has opened up a Youtube account ‘Weardale Railways TV’ and is now regularly posting videos – including one giving a drivers eye view of whole of our line – useful for rapid route learning? See it at : . There are numerous other videos by several observers. For example the recent steam Railtour on at least eight other videos, here are a few :  

On board the train – Newcastle to Stanhope :  

            At Shildon :

            At Primrose Hill, near Bishop Auckland :

           And Finally, chasing the train near Darlington :
No 40 is back in action, here seen on October 23rd  on the bridge at Wolsingham (Photo : John Lewins)

·         COMPLIMENTARY TRAIN RIDE FOR THE TRUST AGM ATTENDEES: The Annual General Meeting of the Weardale Railway Trust is to be held at 10.30am on the 13th    November in St Thomas Church Hall in Stanhope. As well as a summary of the past  years activities there will be a review of forward plans for the further development of the Railway and, no doubt, a summary of activity at other members of the British American Railways Group. All members who attend ( on production of their membership card) will be given a complimentary ticket for a return journey on the line . Passengers travelling to the meeting from Bishop  Auckland can receive their ticket on the train, otherwise tickets will be distributed at the meeting. 


  • SPECIAL SANTA TRAIN FOR BUTTERWICK HOSPICE : The 13.30hrs Santa  train on November 27th will include special provision for over 100 children from the Butterwick Hospice. This event has been kindly sponsored by Meldrum Construction Services Ltd. and Spennymoor Farmers & Traders Association and is being organized  by Sue Snowden in conjunction with Wendy & Clive Elsdon. The Sponsors and the Weardale Railway will jointly provide entertainment on the train and in Stanhope, sweets, snacks, drinks and medical cover. The Hospice will provide nursing cover and Sue Snowden hopes she can also arrange for Butterwick Hospice Founder,. Mary Butterwick OBE, to attend.


  • WR OPEN DAY AT BISHOP AUCKLAND : On Saturday 6th November  the Weardale Railway held  an open event at Bishop Auckland Station to promote the new rail link that  The new service introduced in May has proved very popular with over 17,000 passengers so far. Volunteers and members of the newly established Bishop Auckland section of the Weardale Railway Junior Club were on hand to talk about their work and potential new members were encouraged to come along and apply to join. Tickets for the  Weardale Railway Santa Special service, which this year includes for the first time, connecting trains from Bishop Auckland were on sale. All who attended  received a WR “Buy One Get One Free” ticket voucher valid throughout November. The recently formed Bishop Auckland Station Trust were also present to promote the work being carried out to improve station facilities and the rail provision for the town.

No. 40 outside the depot being readied for her test run 
– taken 
on October 18th                ( Photo : A Gregory) 

No 40 in action , 23rd October with Norman Swindle driving.
                                         (Photo : A Gregory)
  • JUNIOR CLUB WINS PRAISE AT BISHOP AUCKLAND SCHOOL :  The following item appeared in the Northern Echo :

    A YOUNGSTER will travel in style on the Weardale Railway line this Christmas after winning a competition in Bishop Auckland.

    An entry form completed by Megann Griffiths was picked out from a prize draw hosted during an open evening at King James I School, in the town, for next year's intake of pupils.

    Representatives from the railway and its junior club members attended the event, where they gave visitors a ticket on which to collect as many station stamps as possible while looking round the school. Year seven pupils acted as guides at the event and helped collect the tickets.

    Megann, who attends Cockton Hill Junior School, in Bishop Auckland, returned to the school yesterday where she was presented with a first-class ticket for four people to travel on the Weardale Railway line's Santa Express in December.

    Janet Stephenson, transition co-ordinator at the school, said: "We wanted to show visitors the journey we have taken in our specialist school status of media arts, and also the continuing improvement of exam results.

    "The young people from the Weardale Railway were a credit to both themselves and their organisation."


  • FROM THE RIO GRANDE TO WEARDALE : Earl Knoob, an employee of the Rio Grande Scenic Railway in Colorado  is spending a couple of months in Weardale and being a railroad man for 35 years, he is making this visit an opportunity to sample UK railway operations, so you may see him on board the trains or in the depot over the next six weeks. Earl has worked on both the narrow gauge and standard gauge railways in Colorado as well as the Iowa Pacific affiliates for over 35 years. He will also be spending some time exploring our part of the world with his wife who is on holiday with him.

The black clouds parted at just the right time near Rogerley Park for John Lewins to take this fine picture
of the visiting Class 8F, 48151 hauling the charter train from Newcastle on the 16th October.

  • VOLUNTEERS REQUESTED FOR BISHOP AUCKLAND FAIR: A Community Festive Fair is being held on the 20th November at Bishop Auckland College between 10.30 and 14.30hrs. Can you come along to promote and support the Railway? Contact John Askwith for more information or just turn up on the day. 

Malcolm Simpson at the controls of the Class 73 on October 23rd 
                                                          ( Photo : A Gregory)

The Sunday Gang make a pilgrimage once a year to another Railway 
– this year it was the Keighley and
Worth Valley.                        
From left, Mike Wood, Graham
Peat and photographer John Lewins.

·         HALLOWEEN SPECIAL TRAIN ON WEIRD-RAIL : The railway ran its first ever Halloween ghost train on the evening of October 30th . The train left Bishop Auckland at 17.05hrs with various witches, ghouls, hairy monsters and a Count Dracula as passengers – an unplanned spooky event  occurred as the train left Frosterley – the lights went out. However this only added to the atmosphere and, after repairs , the train proceeded to Stanhope. There passengers and visitors had refreshments, whilst games were played and fancy dress prizes awarded. The train departed Stanhope at 18.00hrs for its return journey to Bishop Auckland.

  • ATTENTION NEW VOLUNTEERS : Mike Wilkinson, Volunteer Liaison Officer, thanks all those who have expressed an interest in becoming volunteers on the Railway. The first step before commencing work is that all volunteers must undergo an Induction that explains the basic rules of the Weardale Railway, what we expect of you and what you can expect from us and also a basic Personal Track Safety briefing for your own safety. Mike will be holding the next induction session on Tuesday 23rd November at Stanhope Station and would like to invite you to attend so that you can then begin assisting with the mammoth task that is keeping the railway going. Can you let him know as soon as possible whether or not you will be able to attend via return email or via text on 07817867416. In order to be able to accommodate as many people as possible this session will start at 6pm.

Dave Scott (Trust Chairman and driver) with Earl Knoob
from the USA and now visiting                                    
– and helping out on the
railway     (Photo : Ruth Carroll)

Passengers on board the Halloween special train on October 30th
( Photo : Ruth Carroll)

·         SANTA TRAIN BOOKINGS SURGING AHEAD : If you have friends who have not yet booked for this years Santa trains it is time to tell them to hurry. Some trains are already full and others are filling up fast. The First Class option – travelling in the recently restored coach ‘Nina’ with refreshments served at your seat, is proving popular. This year over 95% of the bookings are coming in online and although much easier to handle than postal bookings are keeping organiser David Million working late into the night. Dont forget to remind intending passengers that they can travel from Bishop Auckland by special connecting services and board the Santa express at Wolsingham – full details of times, prices and booking form here.


·         ADDITIONAL TRAINS FOR FESTIVE FAIR ON NOVEMBER 20th : As mentioned elsewhere in the Newsletter a community Festive fair is being held at Bishop Auckland College on November 20th. Additional trains will be operated leaving Stanhope at 11.20 and 14.30 for Bishop Auckland and returning from there at 11.20 and 15.30. The normal Saturday trains will also run with the dmu substituting for the heritage service timings. Steam trains will return the following weekend with the start of the Santa service.


·         SANTA SPECIALS – 20 plus VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED EVERY DAY : Operating the Santa trains requires  the assistance of 12 adults and 10 junior club members to make it all happen. This is addition to the train and operating staff which will require another 12 people. Thus as well as the man himself we need an adult helper, elves. Snowmen, train stewards in first and second class and in the buffet  car plus helpers in the café , the shop and at Wolsingham station. So this is a call for everyone who has ever helped in the past or wants to start now to ensure all the visiting families have a great day out – please contact David Million if you would like to help , contact details below :--

          David Million (Trust Director) Volunteer Liaison Officer& Junior Club Training Officer

          Telephone: 01388-747683

          Mobile: 07711-017980



·         SANTA SPECIALS – 2 new job requirements : David Million reports that this year there are some new jobs that need to be covered in addition to the normal roles:-

1.        Christmas Market Manager: This year we are holding a Christmas Market of local traders at Stanhope station as a way of improving the Santa Special product but also to provide something more for our guests to do whilst they are at Stanhope.  The Christmas Market Manager will oversee the market liaising with the traders and being the railway’s dedicated point of contact for the traders.

2.        Wolsingham Station Lights: You may be aware that we now have lighting installed around the cabin at Wolsingham which provides adequate lighting of the platform and car park for running the Community Service, however due to the length of our Santa Special trains we need to provide additional lighting along the platform for the arrival of the last SS service of the day.  We therefore require a volunteer to look after this task which will involve the putting up of temporary lighting stands prior to the arrival of the last Santa train and then putting them away afterwards.  The lighting stands are not heavy.

Contact Details for David are above.


* Edited by Gerry Mudd – Please send all comments, suggestions and submissions for the next Newsletter to :


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